Last season was an undoubted disappointment for FC Porto, with a third-place finish in the 2009-10 Portuguese Liga resulting in them missing out on a place in this year’s Champions League.
This was something of a shock given Jose Mourinho’s former team’s recent history, which has seen them win their national league six times in the last eight years and secure their second European Cup/Champions League title in 2004.
However, they would go some way towards making up for this hiccup by winning the Europa League and are 2/1 favourites to do just that after showing impressive form in the competition so far.
Porto are therefore well-fancied to progress to the semi-finals at the expense of Spartak Moscow, who visit the Estadio do Dragao this evening (April 7th).
Thirteen league wins in a row since a 1-1 draw with Sporting Lisbon on November 27th marks Porto out as one of European football’s form teams.
In fact, Porto have yet to lose in the Portuguese Liga this season – they have already wrapped up the title having scored 58 goals and conceded just nine in their 23 wins and two draws from 25 matches.
This domestic form has translated onto the European stage, with Porto going through their group unbeaten.
Although they lost at home to Sevilla in the second leg of the first knock-out round, a win in the first leg was enough to see them through on away goals, and this was followed up by home and away wins over CSKA Moscow.
With this in mind, it is difficult to look past a Porto win in the first leg of their quarter-final with Spartak Moscow.
A successful £10 bet on FC Porto to continue their fine recent form and beat Spartak Moscow 2-0 would return £60.
That said, Spartak Moscow are no European mugs and have won six of their last eight European away games, including an impressive a 1-0 victory over Marseilles in the Stade Velodrome in the group stage of this year’s Champions League.
They also saw off Ajax home and away in the last round and are priced at 19/10 to avoid defeat at the Estadio do Dragao.
Should Spartak escape from Portugal with a win or draw much credit will need to be given to their defence for keeping Porto’s strike pairing quiet.
Columbian Falcao has seven goals in the Europa League so far this season- one behind Giuseppe Rossi, the competition’s top scorer.
Meanwhile, his partner in crime, Hulk, has had the most attempts on target with 19.
As such, both players are priced at 9/10 to score in the match and 3/1 to bag the opener.
Spartak Moscow’s top scorer in the tournament phase of the Europa League is Alex, who has two goals from his four appearances, and the midfielder is priced at 13/5 to add to his tally this evening.
A £10 stake on FC Porto to win the Europa League would return £30. New customers can register here to receive a £25 free bet.